Book Club For Men: Syllabus

Welcome back to the Book Club For Men. I’m glad to see you’ve all arrived armed and equipped. What’s this? You’re always armed and equipped? Of course, what was I thinking?

Before I get started I’d like to ask whomever parked the Sikorsky by the woodshed to move it to the corn field; for some reason it’s pissing off my dog. No no, the thirty seven trucks, six sports cars, four motorcycles, three ATVs, and the imperial battle cruiser are all fine where they are. The dog is used to them and that’s why I have a big lawn. Also whomever killed and ate one of my chickens had better pay for it… you know who you are. I’d like to give a special thanks to Roger who brought his Kenworth and dropped off 10 cords of wood for this evening’s campfire. I know some of you have come a long way so… What’s this? One of you drove from Death Valley? In a 1932 Chevy? Well done sir! …As I was saying, you’re all welcome to camp wherever you want and use Roger’s wood to keep warm or build a cabin or whatever.

As always there’s beer in the fridge and today we’ve got venison stew. Thanks for coming.

I’m handing out the syllabus now. I have attached a link to Amazon for all the books. Many of the books are available for a song if you own a Kindle. Yes yes, I know a few of you have a Nook, one of you has soldered together an e-reader from tin cans and a Linux kernel, and the rest think e-books are the work of the anti-christ or possibly the NSA’s way of spying on us. Read whatever media pisses you off the least ok?

Incidentally I’m doing this only for the joy of literature and possibly the thrill of battle (in experiential learning form of course). If you buy from Amazon I get jack squat so don’t act like I’m Bill Gates’ evil twin. I don’t care if you buy the book, steal it, or use the archaic copyright violation pirate scheme called a library, but if you show up for our next session having failed to read the book; you will be shot.

One last thing, as you read the syllabus you’ll note a lot of killing. This book club isn’t for pansies and we’re not a bunch of chickenshits bound my some sort of Trekkie prime directive. Get out there and rock things. I’m just sayin’.

By the way, every book’s “experiential assignment” is listed in brief so you know what you’re getting into. If you’re not up to the challenge don’t say you weren’t warned. Come back next week and we’ll hash out our first and easiest experiential assignment and get ready for the next book on the list. Remember I’m starting small so don’t get cocky.

Thanks for coming and don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.

  1. Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis, 1942: Experiential Assignment (introductory level); blog about your job until your boss gets fired. Somehow do this without getting fired yourself. Good luck with that! Advanced study: tempt your fellow man from a good life to one of iniquity that ultimately dooms his or her soul to hell. (Be warned, Amazon, because it thinks you’re an illiterate slob, will point you toward an audio book if you’re not paying attention. Though I might buy it for light listening while I’m in my truck.)
  2. Tarzan of the Apes, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1912: Bring your passport because we’re flying to Africa. If you’re smart you’ll hit the gym before getting on that plane! Experiential Assignment (introductory level) either beat a leopard to death with your bare hands or overpower a gorilla. Advanced study; get seriously hosed by an upper class Victorian chick named Jane. (Note: This book is about three bucks on Kindle.)
  3. Harrison Bergeron (short story), Kurt Vonnegut Jr., 1961: Experiential Assignment; attend public school until you’re dumber than a sack of hammers. Given the state of our schools this won’t take long. Advanced study; watch 200 consecutive hours of television.
  4. Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien, 1937: This is a self study experiential assignment. You must identify something evil, seize it, and overcome an all seeing malevolent organization bent on your demise in order to bring it to it’s point of origin where it can be utterly destroyed. As an example I’ll tell you my self study project. I’m going to steal my colleague’s iPhone 5 and carry it to Apple Headquarters at 1 Infinite Loop Road, Cupertino, CA. Once I’m there I’ll infiltrate the building and throw it into the trash compactor on the fifth floor. For this project I’ll need weaponry, a Segway, and a black turtleneck sweater.
  5. The Road, Cormac Mccarthy, 2007: Experiential Assignment; Starve. Advanced study; Eat your neighbor.
  6. Little House on The Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder 1932 – 1943(Read the entire nine book series, it’s a quick read): Experiential Assignments; Live in a dirt hut, freeze in a South Dakota blizzard, work like a mule. Note: you’ll still eat better than the people in “The Road” so quit whining.
  7. 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, Jules Verne, 1870: Experiential Assignment; kidnap someone and take them fishing while expressing a red hot streak of libertarian anti-authoritarianism. (I was shocked to discover this book is FREE on Kindle and that’s part of what drove me into the cold impersonal arms of technology.) Book club members are NOT required to read it in the original French.
  8. Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson, 2009: Experiential Assignment; Find Nazi gold or a Japanese death trap and/or impress a hot woman with your mathematical prowess. Advanced study; learn to “display adaptability” in everything you do.
  9. To Build a Fire, Jack London, 1902: Experiential Assignment; Field trip to Greenland in a blizzard. (This book is $1 on Kindle.)
  10. Snows of Mount Kilimanjaro, (Short Story) Ernest Hemingway, 1936: Another field trip to Africa. Experimental Assignment; Get your ass in the brush and kill the wounded lion like a man should; drink heavily. Experimental assignment: Fade slowly due to gangrene. Bellow drunken insults at your wife. Optional advanced study, for a quicker change of pace, Ebola. Required, you must get drunk and stay drunk the entire time.
  11. Enders Game, Orson Scott Card, 1985: Experiential Assignment; Mess with your kid’s mind using video games until he is a brilliant but heartless tactician. Advanced Study: find and eliminate an intelligent alien species.
  12. Lord of The Flies, William Golding, 1954: Experiential Assignment (introductory level); Field Trip to deer camp, run out of beer! Experiential Assignment (moderate level); field trip to fly in hunting camp in the Yukon, run out of food. Experiential Assignment (advanced level); war in the Middle East.
  13. Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, Mark Twain, 1889: Experiential Assignment; Find a society of primitive screw heads and force them to face individual freedom and the fruits of the Industrial Age. Advanced study; Face a mounted knight in battle; him with a lance and you with a scoped 30-06. (This book is $0.95 on Kindle.)
  14. 1984, George Orwell, 1948: Another field trip, this one will be hosted by Vladimir Putin. He will explain the experiential assignment personally.
  15. Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood, 2004: Experiential Assignment; drive an animal to extinction through genetic engineering. Advanced study; decimate the population of humans on the entire planet.

About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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9 Responses to Book Club For Men: Syllabus

  1. wrm says:

    You left out Kafka’s “The Trail”. Experiential Assignment; live in New York

  2. pignock says:

    I need to read numbers one, five, eight, and fifteen. Good list.

    I think number fourteen could be done without a passport.

  3. aczarnowski says:

    I’m happy to see I’ve read many of these already. Downloading most of the others now. Looks like a good list!

    The assignments will take a while what with the kitchen remodel in full swing (that drywall isn’t going to sand itself) but I’ll try my best…

  4. Jocassee says:

    Excellent list. I’ve read about half. I shall remedy that oversight post haste!

  5. Joe in PNG says:

    Why go to Russia for that “1984” experience when The Country Formerly Known as Great Britain is in the process of becoming Airstrip One in reality.

  6. cspschofield says:

    Read 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 11, 12, 13, & 14. Advisory; DON’T start reading TARZAN OF THE APES unless you have the second book (THE RETURN OF TARZAN) to hand; the two really constitute one complete story arc.

    Also; While I generally read in preference to listening to books, there is an audiobook of Screwtape as read by John Cleese. Priceless!

  7. Randy Mealer says:

    Read most already. Grew up with Tarzan. The books, not the guy. Is that a Ford 8N tractor? I learned to drive at 12 on one of those, tho I seem to remember the exhaust going up thru the cowl.

  8. Pingback: Word For The Day: Ingalls | The Adaptive Curmudgeon's Blog

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